By LaNiece Jones
Oakland, CA: Oakland’s City Hall hosted the sixth annual “Attend and Achieve Back to School Event,” this past Saturday, August 17. The event was organized by a partnership including Oakland Natives Giveback (“ONGB”), office of Assembly member Rob Bonta, office of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and other community-based organizations. More than 900 residents attended the event, which highlighted the importance of regular school attendance.
“A cohesive effort from across the City of Oakland is needed to reach our ambitious goals for student achievement,” said Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gary Yee. “That effort begins by ensuring that students are in class on the first day of school and every day thereafter, prepared to learn and equipped with the tools and support required to do so.” Attendees received school supplies and participated in enrichment workshops covering topics such as academic success tools, school planning tips and community resources.
“Events like the ONGB Back-to-School Rally provide a festive, yet instructive, environment that emphasizes the importance of regular attendance and aligns community partners around the common goal of providing the conditions necessary for high student performance and success in college, career and life,” Yee said.
Assembly member Rob Bonta emphasized the need for balanced portrayals to strengthen the community. “With all that is going on in our community and in the media, it is important that we wrap our arms around our children and show them and the entire community that we care,” he said. “These children will be some of the most talented in our state and it’s so important that we foster that talent and encourage each of them to pursue the positive paths and lives they deserve.”
ONGB’s focus has always been to relieve some of the burden parents experience by helping to ensure children have positive experiences around education.
“Back-to-school time is filled with precious memories from my childhood. I recall when my mom would come home from work with a bag full of school supplies and a brand new backpack for me. My face would light up,” said Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt, co-founder of ONGB. “Having my supplies prior to the first day of school gave me the confidence I needed to feel prepared. Every child should experience that excitement and confidence on the first day and beyond.”
For more information on Oakland Natives Giveback, visitwww.oaklandnatives.org.